There is a blog that I am a big fan of called I am Yellow Peril. The author is a very articulate gay, Asian-American guy, who writes about his struggles with coming to grips with his homosexuality, with his weight struggles as a kid and other gay lifestyle issues (along with some other topics as well). His most recent post A Beautiful Gay Man of Color, really made me think a lot about what I believe is my biggest struggle in life. YP writes about how over his life time, he had been called ugly a number of times and how such insults haunted him. He also writes about how he has moved past that and now sees himself as the beautiful guy that he is.
As I said this post really struck a nerve with me. Throughout the vast majority of my life, I have hated the way I look. When I was little I hated my curly hair. As I got older and gained weight I hated my body. Today I hate my body, my hair (less than their used to be) and in general my overall looks. Like YP, I can remember pretty much every time I have ever been called ugly. I have always seen those insults, along with every time I have ever been rejected, as validation of my poor self image. People seem to love to hang out with me, to be my friend, to confide in me, but when I look for more than friendship, I am often told "you are not my type".
When I first started to meet guys after coming out of the closet, I figured I could never be with anyone that I was attracted to. They were all "out of my league". Therefore, I would agree to meet up with anyone that showed interest in me, figuring who was I to turn anyone down. But, during my trip to Bangkok and Vietnam this past summer, I met guys that I was very attracted to and that shockingly enough, were attracted to me as well. I started to gain some self confidence. Things seemed to be changing.
Later on, I fell for a very good friend of mine. When I told him how I feel, he told me that he loves me, but only as a friend and that he was not attracted to me. This sent me back down my old path of self loathing. Once again I saw this rejection as confirming the accuracy of my poor self image. Guys could love my personality, but not my looks. Also, being back in Israel and once again finding it difficult to meet guys that I want to be with, I have now lost all the self confidence that I had gained.
But I found myself inspired reading YP's post this morning. While I easily identified with the self hatred he describes from his past, I found myself jealous of his current self-confidence. It was completely foreign to me. YP's self confidence was different than the self confidence I felt during my time in SE Asia. It comes from himself. It is not based on the fact that others see him as beautiful, but rather in the fact that he sees HIMSELF as beautiful. I want that so much. I am tired of looking in the mirror and wishing there was a way to replace what I see. And I am tired of letting the way others see me, define how I see myself.
Of course for years, my great friends of been telling me that this is what I need to do. But I just never really thought I could. I felt like I needed to be realistic and accept the cards life had dealt me. It sounds nice to say "love yourself", but I just never thought I would be able to. However, I so easily identified with YP's past feelings, I thought maybe I can eventually identify with his present feelings as well. So I have decided to try and work on this issue of mine. I am sure it wont be easy and it probably won't happen quickly. But I am declaring it publicly and writing that I am going to try. So to Yellow Peril (if you read this) I want to say thank you for the inspiration.